Hoka Kaha vs Anacapa: Check 5 differences Before Buying

Hoka One One has set itself apart from other performance shoe brands. They are leaders of innovation. They’re highly focused on breaking the mold of traditional running shoes. They’re especially well-known for their maximal cushioned running shoes.

But, that’s not all!

Hoka also has a wide variety of running shoes that are perfect for any outdoor adventure. The Hoka Kaha and Hoka Anacapa models are among their most popular trail running shoe models. Both models are well-loved by the trail running community. But it’s very important to understand why.

Simply put, the Kaha is the go-to option if you want a shoe that has plush cushioning and a stable, responsive ride. The Anacapa is way better for runners who want a lightweight and flexible shoe with a low heel drop.

Having tried them both myself, I’m here to share valuable insights about each model. By the end of this article, you will develop a better idea of which pair to get.

An Overview of Hoka Kaha and Anacapa Shoes

The Hoka Kaha and Hoka Anacapa are trail running shoes that offer something unique. While they’re both good options, they both cater to different types of runners. To decide which shoe will better suit your needs, we need to understand their major differences.

Let’s get into a quick overview of their features. Later in the article, we’ll dive into the nitty-gritty details.

HOKA Kaha 2 GTX Hiking Boots

The Kaha model has Hoka’s signature maximalist cushioning. It also features an oversized midsole which provides plush comfort and amazing shock absorption. In fact, the name ‘Kaha’ literally means “Strength” or “Support” in Maori. The thick midsoles, grippy soles, and supportive fit all lead to a smoother, more comfortable ride. It also makes long hikes and trail running on uneven terrain a piece of cake. Overall, this is a great outdoor shoe for any activity.

HOKA ONE ONE Anacapa Mid GTX Mens Shoes

The Anacapa, when compared to the Kaha, has less cushioning. Though that doesn’t mean that it has minimalist cushioning, it’s still quite thick, but not as much as the Kaha. It’s got a special rockered shape that lets your foot roll forward when taking steps. It’s also lightweight and feels more responsive because of the lack of excessive cushioning. You will feel very agile and supported by this pair. 

Now, let’s dive deeper into each shoe.

Kaha VS Anacapa Comparison: 5 Key Differences

When trying to decide on a running shoe, it’s important to carefully examine each model’s characteristics. You want to take a good look at how cushioning, weight, fit, and more align with your running needs and goals. 

For this article, I’ll be comparing the Hoka Kaha 2 GTX and the Hoka Anacapa 2 Mid GTX since those are the models I’ve tried. 

Here’s how the two compare:

Hoka Kaha vs Anacapa

1. Cushioning

If you want thick cushioning, then the Kaha is what you want. The Kaha has a dual-layer midsole that provides comfort and shock absorption. That also makes it have great stability.

In fact, the Kaha 2 GTX has the same EVA foam cushioning as the Hoka Speedgoat 4, a running shoe well-known for its dynamic, supportive cushioning. The maximalist cushioning will make you feel like you’re running or hiking on pillows, while offering great underfoot protection. 

On the other hand, the Anacapa is a more lightweight shoe with less cushioning compared to the Kaha. They still possess Hoka’s signature maximalist cushioning, but it’s more toned down. The midsole cushion helps reduce stress on your joints.

The rocker-shape of the shoe also gives you a nice ride, as it gently rolls your momentum forward. The lighter cushioning also feels way more responsive, allowing you to get a better feel of the ground.

Overall, if you prioritize cushioning and want a running shoe that takes comfort to the next level, then I highly recommend the Kahas over the Anacapas.

2. Weight

The Kaha is a whole lot heavier than the Anacapa due to the amount of cushioning packed into the shoe. The Kaha was also built to last, with a durable outsole and sturdy construction. It can withstand almost any terrain or weather condition with no problems. It can also handle touch trails and rocky paths with ease. But, that durability and plush comfort come at the cost of added weight.

To quantify it, the Kaha weighs about 9.4oz while the Anacapa comes in at just 6.5oz.

Now, the Kaha 2 GTX is not the heaviest shoe out there. But if we’re comparing it to other lightweight models, you’ll notice the heavier difference. I think that they’re still reasonably light, considering the level of comfort, stability, and protection they provide.

The Anacapa 2 Mid GTX is really lightweight. It was surprising to me how lightweight they are, since they’re so supportive and cushiony. Though, the comfort of the Kahas were much more favorable to me. My only issue is that since they’re so lightweight, there are some outsole durability issues. 

HOKA Kaha 2 GTX Hiking Boots

3. Fit

The Kaha 2 GTX are better classified as hiking boots. The same goes for the Anacapa 2 Mid GTX. Overall, both shoes offer a nice snug fit, padded ankle collars, and an effective lacing system that keeps your laces in place all day. They both also fit comfy enough that you could go hiking all day without your feet aching too much.

Let’s get into some differences though. 

The Kaha’s heel shape makes slipping the boot on and off much more efficient. They also fit way more snugly, as the leather upper of the shoes and the lacing system allow you to pull the laces as tight as you want without compromising the shoe shape. It also features a wider toe box, allowing more room for thicker socks or wider feet.

For the Anacapas, I really, relly like their lace locking system. It allows you to customize the fit of the shoe to your liking. The fit is pretty standard with a roomy forefoot and toe box. Typically, I have to get ‘wide’ sizes when picking out hiking boots, and even without a wider option, the Anacapas fit perfectly fine.

4. Terrain

Both hiking boots feature Hoka’s Vibram Mega Grip outsoles. This allows hikers to safely traverse on different terrain with confidence.

The Kaha 2 GTX is equipped with fairly deep lugs that will give you amazing traction on wet, soft, or uneven terrain. I highly recommend these when you’re going hiking on challenging or rugged terrain as you’ll really see these shoes shine in those conditions. The deep lugs also allow the shoe to be more flexible. The flexibility in combination with the thick cushioning makes it so your feet won’t overflex when stepping on sharp or jagged rocks. 

Similar to the Kaha, the Anacapas also offer solid traction with multidirectional lugs that ensure you stay safe on any terrain. You’ll be fine going over muddy trails or slippery rocks, however I wouldn’t recommend them if you’re hiking through ankle-deep water or on steep terrain. 

Though they feature the same grippy outsoles, the lugs on each shoe is different. The Kahas are deeper, making them feel grippier and more aggressive on steep hills. If you push your Anacapas to take on a steep, slippery slope, there’s a high chance that you’ll feel yourself slipping.

If i had to pick a winner on which shoe is more versatile and safe on any type of terrain, I’d go with the Kahas.

HOKA Anacapa GORE TEX Hiking Shoes

5. Usage

For longer runs and hikes, I cannot recommend the Kaha 2 GTX enough. The completely waterproof leather upper of the shoe, mega grip outsoles, and ultra comfortable cushioning all combine to make a shoe that can really go the distance. However, the super waterproofness does come at the price of lacking breathability. I prefer wearing these on cold or wet days, over hot ones as your feet can get quite sweaty due to lack of breathability. 

The Anacapas come at a close second. They’re made of a breathable mesh upper that still offers some level of waterproofing. They’re also very flexible and the meta rocker soles will allow you to keep your pace without consuming too much energy. However, I found that the Anacapas are better for short to mid-range distances. Especially since they aren’t as durable as the Kahas.

Each shoe caters to different running needs. There’s also rarely any running shoe that’s a ‘one-size-fits-all’. Keep these differences in mind as we cover how to select the perfect running shoe for you.

Choosing the Right Shoe for Your Running Style and Goals

This is the most fun and most personal part of this article! When trying to pick the best shoe for you and your needs, here are some criteria to consider:

1. Your Preferred Running Distance

Based on the uses as we covered earlier, I think that the clear winner for longer distances are the Kaha 2 GTXs. The ample cushioning, snug fit, grippy outsoles, and balances stability make it a great shoe for longer distances. But, if you’ll be going on shorter runs and value a more responsive toe-off, then you’ll likely prefer the Anacapas more.

2. Desired Cushioning Level

Do you want to walk on clouds or pillows? While both options are highly cushioned, the Kahas are definitely more heavily cushioned than the Anacapas. The Kahas are super soft and the extra cushioning on the midsoles give extra shock absorption for the runners who need it. So, if you want to run fast, go for the Kahas. For those that value natural foot movement and want soles that can propel your momentum forward, the Anacapas will be perfect for you.

3. Ideal Weight

As mentioned earlier, the Kahas are fairly heavy compared to the Anacapas. For some, this can be a dealbreaker. After all, no one wants to go running or hiking with bricks on their feet. Having a lighter shoe can promote faster speeds, but this may come at the cost of durability.

Hoka Regular vs Wide

4. Where You Run

Consider what terrain or surface you’ll spend the most time running on. The Kahas are perfect for any terrain or weather condition. When it comes to hiking or trail running, these are my favorites as they provide enough comfort and support. On the other hand, the Anacapas also excel on any terrain and are good for road running too. 

5. Preferred Fit

This is something that you can’t decide on without trying the shoes on first. However, if you’ve got wide feet, I recommend the Kahas more because of the wider toe box. But, if you want a shoe that’s flexible in terms of fit, then the Anacapas are better. 

6. Your Running Goals

Lastly, factor in your running goals. Decide on what you’re trying to get out of your run. Everyone has a different goal in mind and picking the right shoes can help you achieve your goal faster. Are you trying to boost your speed? Go a longer distance? Or Improve foot strength?

Frequently Asked Questions

Which shoe is best for marathon training?

Technically, I would classify both shoes as ‘hiking boots’ and wouldn’t really recommend either for marathon training. However, if you’re set on getting either one of these models, then the Anacapas will be better as the breathable upper mesh of the shoe will keep you cool no matter the heat. The meta rocker soles will also do wonders in helping you keep your pace.

Can I use the Anacapa for trail running?

Absolutely! The Anacapas have worked great for me, even when running on trails. They’re very responsive and provide enough softness that you can run mid distances with no problems. I would just avoid running on steep inclines as you’ll have to be more careful with your foot placement or you’ll find yourself slipping.

Have Plantar Fasciitis – What Shoe is Best?

The wider toe box and softer cushioning of the Kaha 2 GTXs may help your Plantar Fasciitis. They’re also very protective, making hiking with Plantar Fascitiis really smooth and comfortable. The Anacapas run a little tighter and forcing your feet into those may cause unnecessary pain.

How do the price points of both shoes compare, and is it justified?

The Kahas are priced at around $240, while the Anacapas are priced lower at just $180. Overall, both shoes are fairly pricey but I believe that their price points are justified. The durable leather material of the Kahas already makes the price point worth it. The same goes for the Anacapas. Both shoes have amazing features that make every penny worth it.


To wrap things up, it’s safe to say that each shoe has something that really makes it shine. If I had to pick an overall winner though, I’d have to say that the Kaha 2 GTX takes the crown. However, it is important to remember that that’s just based on my personal preference. 

Before trying to pick out the better shoe, it’s important that you try them on for yourself and go around for a test run. There’s no other way to know if a shoe is the right fit for you.

1 thought on “Hoka Kaha vs Anacapa: Check 5 differences Before Buying”

  1. Thanks! Looking at the two of these (unfortunately no stores near me) – do you know if the Kaha is higher than the Anapaca mid? Thanks!


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